Swaffham cricketers turn up the heat on Witchingham
Swaffham looked like the Costa del Sol. Temperatures soared and the cafe society had arrived in south west Norfolk.
Tables, chairs and dog bowls rambled across the pavement.
After a hard day in the harvest field it isn’t a brown ale and half a dozen pickled onions that the modern worker needs but a soothing gallon of Pink Lady, and don’t forget the cherry.
In fact Swaffham is preferable to the Costa del Sol at this moment. A two week quarantine is not needed after leaving Swaffham.
There was a further attraction in Swaffham today. The world’s bravest man was giving an exhibition on the cricket field.
At four o’clock Swaffham had finished their innings on the excellent total of 260-5 after 40 overs.
On the way to this total their captain, Jasper Payne, had battled through difficult conditions to reach a superb hundred against good quality opposition.
At least, he had almost reached it. He stood on 99.
The neutral umpire gave him out leg-before-wicket. Could we just repeat that sentence? The visiting neutral umpire gave the home team captain out lbw when he stood on 99?
This must be the world’s bravest man. Or he has a very individual sense of humour.
It would be fair to say that Jasper was not in 100 per cent agreement with the decision, or even 99 per cent.
But, cricket being a game of gentlemen, he naturally accepted that the umpire’s decision is final and must have been correct.
Backed up by Alec Payne with 52 and useful contributions lower down, Swaffham looked unassailable on 260.
The ground was baked like a custard tart. The wicket was hard and well prepared but the bounce was uneven. It hopped and it stopped and timing was difficult.
Ben Mills, bowling from the top end, was a frightening prospect. He took four wickets and was backed up by David Annakin with two.
Witchingham did not make life easy for themselves in reply. Jack Burton looked a classy player but was run-out in a mix-up.
James Cherrey too looked classy but had no-one to stay with him. Swaffham just needed someone to mop up the tail.
Mick Payne is not the slowest bowler in west Norfolk. He does, however, have the slowest arm action.
Between his arm going back and his arm coming forward again there is time to drink a cup of tea, read the paper and take in a round of golf. But when he reached the wicket it was clear that he knew why he was there.
Witchingham were out for 89. If Mick Payne was the 12th man, the 13th man was Swaffham’s appealing.
It was vociferous even if it did not always seem closely related to events on the field.
It was like watching a badly dubbed film where the words came later than the lip movements.
But they enjoyed themselves and indeed they enjoyed a very good win.
Postscript: Last week we commended North Runcton who bowled two leg spinners in tandem, last one by Australia thirty years earlier and England three decades before that. This week Pakistan did it in the test match. The power of the press.